Tax-free childcare rollout from 28 April

The government’s tax-free childcare scheme will begin for parents of the youngest children on 28 April with general rollout for parents with children under 12 throughout 2017, as government launches a Childcare Choices website allowing parents to pre-register to join the scheme

The new Childcare Choices website includes a calculator to enable parents to compare all the government’s childcare offers to see what would be best suited to their situation. They can also pre-register for email alerts that will notify on when they can apply, as well as providing details of existing offers and schemes.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said: ‘The new Childcare Choices website provides busy families with options that suit their needs, so they can clearly see which childcare offer works best for them. For the first time, we have brought all the childcare options together to make the process easier and simpler for families and childcare providers.’

The tax-free childcare scheme is for working parents with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children). Parents are able to open an online account to pay for registered childcare, with government topping up the money paid into the account. For every £8 paid in, government will add an extra £2, with parents being able to receive up to £2,000 per child which increases to £4,000 for disabled children.

The scheme will begin on 28 April, for parents of the youngest children and will be gradually rolled out over 2017, cutting childcare costs for working families across the UK.

Parents must both earn on average at least £120 per week to join the scheme but tax-free childcare is not available for parents who earn £100,000 or over.

Tax-free childcare was introduced to help parents afford:

  • registered childminders, nurseries and nannies;
  • registered after-school clubs and playschemes;
  • registered schools; and
  • home careworkers working for a registered home care agency

Tax-free childcare cannot be used alongside childcare vouchers, universal credit or tax credits but can be used with the 15 hours and 30 hours schemes.

From September 2017 parents of three and four year old children living in England will be able to apply for a new 30 hours free childcare offer, worth around £5,000 per child.

Eligible parents will be able to apply online through the childcare service. They will receive a code which allows parents to arrange their childcare place ahead of September 2017. Parents can take their code to their provider or council, along with their National Insurance Number and child’s date of birth. Their provider or council will check the code is authentic and allocate them a free childcare place.

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, said: ‘Affordable childcare and early years education are a vital part of how we can get our children on the right path, whilst also helping parents to be back at work, if that is what they want. Many parents are struggling to balance the cost of childcare against the benefits of being in work.’

The new Childcare Choices website is here.  

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